Construction on the new Hampton Inn on 200 North and Main in Logan has started. Road closures and big machinery on the site have caused delays, curiosity and controversy. Logan Mayor Craig Petersen is excited about the project and the energy it will bring to downtown. Some Logan residents, however, don’t share his enthusiasm and are concerned about the possible negative affects it could have on the downtown area.
According to Rich Anderson, Logan City Chief Financial Officer, Logan City acquired the 1.63 acres the hotel is being built on between 1999 and 2002 with four separate transactions totaling $1,315,500. Last year the high profile corner lot was sold to the Hampton Inn developers Matt Weston and Weston Logan Inc. for $996,974, resulting in a loss of $318,526 to Logan City tax payers.
An appraisal of the property’s value was unavailable. However, Logan City Economic Development Director Kirk Jensen stated, “In that part in the core of downtown you might be looking at perhaps a million dollars an acre.” Weston purchased the entire 1.63 acres for less than a million dollars, putting the price per acre closer to $600,000. Although the city took a loss on the parcel, both Mayor Petersen and Director Jensen believe that the purchase price was fair.
When the property was purchased by the city they intended to use it for a new library. Mayor Petersen says, “Since I’ve been here our clear goal has been that that is not the place for the library. What we want to put there is commercial activity.” Petersen also believes the current library located adjacent to the hotel construction site should also be used for commercial activity.
Construction of the hotel has raised some eyebrows as parts of 200 North were restricted earlier this week putting more strain on an already congested intersection. Residents are also concerned about how the project will affect parking in downtown. Parking is not a concern for Mayor Petersen. He says that there will be a parking stall for every room in the hotel. In a Planning Commission meeting in October of last year, Weston said, “There will be a cross access agreement for parking. Hilton Hotel requires reserved parking for diamond members so there will be a couple of spots near the entrance reserved, other than that it will be open public parking.”
Opposition to the project was noted on the Cache Valley Daily Facebook page after an article, Logan City finding additional parking for new hotel on 200 North Main, was published last week. Diana Wiegand said, “Goodbye beautiful downtown parking.” Veronica DeSoto Thorsted voiced her concern, “This is such a bad idea. We have enough issues with traffic in that area.” Other concerns had nothing to do with potential parking problems. “What an eye sore,” commented Logan resident Katy Neilson. After seeing an artist’s rendition of what the hotel will look like, Ashlynn Jimenez said, “That is going to look awful.” Not all reaction to the development was negative. Tony Anderson is excited about the future hotel, “Just really glad this project is happening. Love seeing downtown grow.”
Mayor Petersen doesn’t believe the hotel will have any impact on traffic on the intersection of 200 North and Main. Both roads are managed by UDOT, not Logan City. “We don’t have decision making authority on those roads,” stated Petersen. “Main Street has a steady traffic flow of about 35,000 cars. What we are talking about is another 100 vehicles, at most, associated with the hotel.”
Concerns have also been raised by hotels already operating in the area. Weston was sued by Shree Ganesh, current owner of the Weston Inn. Ganesh said he would not have purchased the Weston Inn from Weston if he knew about his plans to build another hotel across the street. An owner of another downtown hotel, who wished to comment anonymously, worries about a decline in guests as events like the Cache Valley Cruise-In and Utah Festival Opera have recently waned in popularity. They worry that 102 more hotel rooms in the area will have an adverse effect on their business.
Construction on the new Hampton Inn is expected to be completed sometime next year. Vice President of the Planning Commission David Butterfield called the Hampton Inn, “a good anchor project” foreshadowing the changes expected to come to downtown in the coming years.